Howard University president James E. Cheek, saying his school faces "a storm of resistance. . . . from without and within" as it deals with a budget deficit, promised to take action yesterday against administrators who draw "full-time salaries for half-hearted service" and "full-time teachers" who provide only "part-time teaching and research."
"At Howard University there is no loose change with which to gamble," Cheek declared at the annual fall convocation in Cramton Auditorium. "There can be no spare parts which can be put into storage. There is no time to play."
The president spoke as university trustees met to consider his report on the deficit, which Howard officials first disclosed in August. The shortfall totaled $6.6 million a year ago and has grown by an undisclosed amount since then.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted $145.2 million for Howard for the coming fiscal year, the same amount that the university is currently receiving from the federal government and $14.5 million less than President Reagan requested. The federal appropriation covers about 60 percent of Howard's budget.
Although Cheek announced no concrete steps to deal with the budget problem, he said every university program and activity is being examined for savings and also for quality.
He said he wants to insure that each program at Howard is "not just good, but better than the best."
Last March, a speech by Cheek was loudly jeered by student demonstrators shortly after the university had dismissed the editor of the campus newspaper. But yesterday the audience of about 1,500 listened quietly to Cheek's remarks and gave him a standing ovation.
During the last two months, the university's budget problems, which officials said were caused by unplanned expenditures rather than a drop in revenues, have stirred considerable resentment among the faculty.
The Howard chapter of the American Association of University Professors has been reactivated after more than a decade. In a statement circulated last week, its president, Allison Blakely, a history professor, charged that the faculty "is held in utter contempt by the administrators," and "treated accordingly."
Yesterday, Cheek urged the convocation audience to decide "that whatever turbulence we cause will be creative and not destructive, that no one of us will bite the hand that feeds us."
He also suggested that faculty and administrators "not create or perpetuate rumors" and added, "Let us make up our minds. . . that we do not have to be rude to demonstrate authority."
Cheek commented publicly for the first time on discrimination cases brought by white faculty members. Motions filed by Howard last spring that, as a predominantly black institution, it "may take race into consideration" and give preference to blacks, were rejected by two federal judges and widely criticized.
Yesterday, Cheek said Howard's multiracial faculty and student body show university policy "more eloquently than any statement I could ever issue." But he added that the university "does have a distinctive mission because this nation is so perverse in its racism and racism is so pervasive in its society."
According to the most recent reports Howard has filed with the federal government, whites make up 19.7 percent of its faculty and 1.6 percent of its students.